Previous attempts to promote healthy eating using explicit techniques have not been consistently successful. We therefore investigated an implicit strategy (item placement techniques) to encourage healthy food choices in the context of snack menus. Two experimental studies compared presentation of healthy items in the top, middle, and bottom sections of a snack menu. Study 1 compared these presentations in a physical paper-based menu, while Study 2 used an online menu. Menus consisted of 8 unhealthy and 4 healthy items, arranged in three rows of four in Study 1, and one column of 12 in Study 2. In each study, participants selected one food item from one of the three experimental menus, before completing the Revised Restraint Scale (to determine dietary restraint status). In Study 1 (n = 172), item placement condition did not predict healthiness of food choice. In Study 2 (n = 182), healthy items were most popular from the first section of the menu, in comparison to the middle or last sections. Dietary restraint did not moderate the effect of item placement condition on food choice. In line with nudging principles, our results suggest that item placement techniques could be a potentially powerful tool in promoting healthy choices from online snack menus.
|Number of pages||8|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Feb 2022|
- Dietary restraint
- Food choice
- Item placement